We talked to Chema Coca of SUPERLUMEN, a development studio from Murcia dedicated to the creation of experiences and videogames for Virtual Reality. Here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chema Coca: Fortunately, all the people around us are fine, and that’s the most important thing. For the rest, it is a matter of adapting to the new situation, and at the moment, it is not going bad.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined SUPERLUMEN.
Chema Coca: We are friends for life. We started years ago to embark on different technological projects in our spare time, testing new technology, programming applications, and above all, everything related to the emerging world of Virtual Reality.
Thus, we decided to turn our passion into a business. Then Superlumen was born.
How does SUPERLUMEN innovate?
Chema Coca: We create new ways of playing videogames using Virtual Reality. For example, in our last game Desolatium, we are using real images and videos 360 to create the environment and levels for the game.
Thanks to our own graphics engine, we managed to create high-quality VR graphics, maximizing the immersion of the user; through Artificial Intelligence, we completely eliminate motion shickness.
For data management, we use blockchain technology, which allows us to know the user and improve their experience.
All in all, Superlumen achieves an experience that stands out over the alternatives on the market.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Chema Coca: Because of COVID-19, we had to cancel several projects which were going to help us finance our videogame Desolatium, so initially, it was a big problem for us.
Instead of stopping, we decided to spend all our time developing the game, which accelerated the process and allowed us to meet goals several months ahead of schedule.
In addition, during the lockdown, the videogame market has grown at an unprecedented rate, positively impacting the industry and, therefore, our company.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Chema Coca: When we started with the company, none of us had business experience, so we have had to take many difficult decisions. We have learned almost everything from experience: from labour decisions with team building to more complex issues such as partners and capital and financing searching.
The world of entrepreneurship advances at a very high speed, and even more, if it is in a technological field as green as VR, so we have always to learn and pave the way, which implies making decisions.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Coca: We are a small team, half of us working in the office and the other half teleworking; we communicate through Slack and Whereby when a video call is necessary. The tasks are organized on Jira, which allows bug tracking and agile project management.
Thanks to these tools, we are managing to deal with the situation as best as possible.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chema Coca: At the national level, various players specialized in VR videogames are emerging; however, given the high learning curve and the high technical requirements of the Superlumen sector, it stands out for its extensive experience in VR. In addition, it provides one of the best UX on the market through its own graphics engine.
In Spain, Paloma Sudios and Tessera Studio stand out.
From a global point of view, competitors stand out for their financial capacity, being able to penetrate the market more easily. However, Superlumen already has several pre-agreements with publishers that will allow it to access players from all over the world. Worldwide, Lucid Sight (USA) and Archiact (Canada) stand out as competitors.
Our proposal is to continuously innovate and load our experiences and games with a strong narrative base. We see Virtual Reality as a way of telling stories.
Your final thoughts?
Chema Coca: COVID19 has definitely had a negative impact in many aspects, but in terms of technology, it has meant a before and after. Many companies have adapted in the best possible way to this situation, and even what at first seemed to be obstacles have become opportunities.
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